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6 Relationship Tips Every Manager Can Use to Become an Impactful Leader

6 Relationship Tips Every Manager Can Use to Become an Impactful Leader

I’ll never forget the first day I started at the company where I met my wife. I was heading into the training room and there stood a man at the door, with a handshake and a smile, greeting everyone as we walked in. He was the training manager.

His demeanor was pleasant, his tone was uplifting, and, in all honesty, I felt as if I was a child heading to see Mickey Mouse at Disneyland. There was something about his energy. He held a brief conversation with each of us, asking us questions about what we wanted, why we were here, and then informing us why the company chose us.

All of a sudden, I had a huge smile on my face. Instantly, I felt welcomed and I knew that he had that special something. 13 years later, I’ll always remember his name and I’ll always remember how much of an impact he made on me.

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1. Know your people

Understanding who we work with is paramount to anyone’s leadership success. What makes them tick? What makes them get up in the morning? How is their family? What is important to them? These are questions that can be beneficial to any manager in knowing who we lead. Notice we started with asking questions. So many people think they know someone just because there is dialogue. Unfortunately, most of that dialogue is a one-way street. Stop giving information about yourself and start getting information from others.

2. Take interest in their needs

Once you find out what their needs are, take an interest in the needs. Showing interest means setting aside time to have a personal conversation with them. Bring them to your desk and see how they are doing. Find out what’s happening in their lives. How does it affect their production at work? Let them know that when they visit your desk, it’s not a negative thing.

3. Listen to their wants and desires

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Use your ears, not just to listen, but to actively listen. If someone you lead tells you their goals and desires in the company, don’t forget it. Showing them that you know, and remember, what they want will go a long way in being able to lead them. Speak into that desire. They will be grateful you did.

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4. Be their preeminent point of contact

Surpass their wildest expectations. When someone you lead can come to you and know that you will go to bat for them, it is priceless. Be reliable. Be the person you would want leading you. All too often, we see management drop the ball and totally forget concerns or ideas that were brought to them by the people they lead. Show empathy and try to see the world through their eyes. It will create defining moments in your leadership.

5. Create influence through emotional connection

You can only create influence when you have a connection. Having a connection only comes when you have a reciprocal relationship. You know that you have a reciprocal relationship when you can ask a person you lead to do something for you, and there is no challenge. Even the dirty stuff. But it’s only because you have done something for them. This is called “The Benjamin Franklin Effect”.

6. Treat them as individuals

We all want to be treated as individuals. So many times, in the workplace, people are grouped together and are spoken to as if they were all only one person. Your team is made up of individuals and they all have different goals and desires. Everyone wants to be rewarded. Don’t just reward the team, as a whole. Reward individuals privately and publicly, give individuals different responsibilities that go above and beyond their job description. Encourage your team to come up with new ideas and insights. Let them be problem solvers.

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Final thoughts

Don’t have a scarcity mindset about leading people. Empower them and teach them what you know. A lot of managers feel that if they teach the people they lead what they know, they could be out of a job. Turn it around. Have an abundance mentality. More than likely, if you taught everyone you lead what you know, your production will soar and you will have upper management wanting to give you a promotion.

Creating an environment of influence is not based on titles. It is based on relationship. The training manager showed, within 30 minutes, that he had a different agenda. His agenda was to make us feel like we belonged, like the company needed us, and that we had something unique that added value.

It is not enough to be a manager. That is a role. Roles don’t create leaders… Relationship does.

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Featured photo credit: business corporate businessman/pascalmwiemers via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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